Caring for somebody with multiple sclerosis (MS) is certainly not always easy to navigate. Since this condition can be quite unpredictable, it can be difficult to know what somebody with MS will need from one day or week to the next, including in terms of both practical and emotional support.
Learn As Much As You Can
One of the best things that you can do to provide support to somebody who is living with this condition is to learn as much as you can about MS. There are online resources that offer a lot of great information to get you started, including social media groups and even online courses and online events that focus on the condition. Familiarity with the condition will help you get a better understanding of how the person might be feeling, which will better enable you to offer them the support that they need.
You will be able to learn more about some of the common symptoms and what might affect them on a day-to-day basis such as dysphagia or trouble swallowing, which can be helped with thickening products. Find out more about instant food thickeners and the SimplyThick owner here.
Communicating openly with the person that you are caring for is also very important. It’s difficult to support somebody if you are not sure what it is that they need, so take the time to ask them what they need and get to know what will work for them. If it’s OK with them, take an active role when it comes to their care. This could involve going with them to appointments, speaking with health professionals to help you get a better grasp of anything that you don’t understand, and helping with the management of medications and other treatments.
If you are caring for somebody with MS that you live with, then there are many adaptations that you can make to their home to improve their experience, independence, safety, and accessibility. Some people with MS might find that home life is easier if they are provided with a specially adapted kitchen and/or bathroom, ramps to get in and out of the property more easily, and other modifications to aid with getting around such as handrails.
It can be difficult to understand what somebody who has MS is going through if you have not experienced it yourself, so it’s best to spend some time figuring out how you can best offer emotional support to the person. There might be things that you say which could be seen as inconsiderate or hurtful even if you don’t mean it, such as suggesting things that might ‘cure’ MS or telling them that they don’t look unwell. Bear in mind that symptoms are not always visible and obvious, and there is no cure, so it’s always best to find out more about the experience from the person themselves and ask what kind of support they would benefit from the most.
Caring for or supporting somebody with MS is not always easy. The best thing that you can do is learn more about the condition and how it impacts them as an individual.